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Artist of the Month - Stiwdio Rolo

This month I got to interview fellow Welsh artists Rory and Lorna from Stiwdio Rolo. Stiwdio Rolo is based in South Wales and creates beautiful art inspired by nature and storytelling.


I really enjoyed getting to know Rory and Lorna, learning about their background and watching their art business grow from strength to strength.


Emma: Where did the name stiwdio Rolo come from?


Stiwdio Rolo: Our small business was created by the two of us, and is a place we put a lot of ourselves into - so we named it after us! Rory and Lorna - Rolo! We are both Welsh creatives and are passionate about Wales, which is why we included the Welsh word for studio.


Emma: How and when did your artistic journey begin? Did anyone inspire you?


Stiwdio Rolo: We have both been creatives all our lives! We met during a foundation degree in art and design and went on to study illustration at the same university. six years after we first met we finally decided to put our collective work out there!


We’ve had a lot of inspiration between us, but the main inspiration for Stiwdio Rolo and how we market it are Minalima - the design studio for the Harry Potter films (check them out on Instagram if you haven’t already!).


Some other illustrators and artists who have inspired us are Chris Ridell, Robert Ball, Olly Moss and Dan Mumford.


Emma: How would you describe yourself as an artist? How would you describe your art personality?


Rory: I would describe myself as a graphic designer/illustrator as I tend to consider the aesthetic and how the design may be used, for example, commercial or providing awareness and information. My work is typically quite simplistic, inspired by nature or pop culture with a very limited colour palette. This style is derived from my history of lino printing and its creative limitations. Lorna: I would consider myself as a children’s illustrator, on the whole, it’s something I’m passionate about and my style lends itself to it well. However, I also love to apply this soft and characterful style to art that is attractive to a variety of audiences. My style is cute, fun and light-hearted.


Emma: What is your favourite thing to create?


Rory: My favourite thing to create is probably digital illustrations inspired by my love of nature and sometimes fantasy! With colours and textures inspired by the traditional art of lino printing.


Lorna: My favourite thing to create is anything character-based. I especially like to try and turn unusual things into characters, such as the flowers in our Spring Bloom illustration!




Emma: You often use your creativity to raise awareness for a variety of causes such as the environment, animal welfare and mental health. Can you tell us more about this?


Stiwdio Rolo: Each of the things we raise awareness of is things that we have first-hand experience in, and have seen for ourselves the negative impact they bring. We’ve seen some of our favourite places be destroyed, wildlife habitats going with it. We’ve rescued a large number of hedgehogs from peril. We have suffered with our mental health. Not only do we enjoy creating work that we are passionate about, we feel it’s an opportunity to spread the word on matters we know a lot about and are important.




Emma: What has been the most standout moment for you as an artist so far?


Stiwdio Rolo: Our most standout moment so far would have to be the stall we held at the Tantrwm Festival at the end of July! It was our first ever stall, so we weren’t sure how it would go, but it was amazing! So many people loved our work and it was a great opportunity to meet like minded people. We hope we get to do more stalls in the future!


Emma: Is there an art creation that you’re most proud of?


Rory: The work I’m most proud of is my hedgehog lino print from 2 years ago. It was a very simple illustration, but I managed to raise over £100 for our local hedgehog charity. Lorna: Like most creatives, I’m quite the critic when it comes to my own work, so this is a hard question! I think I would have to say the “Head Above Water” series is something I’m most proud of. I have always found it hard to explain what it’s like to have a mental illness and the way that medication has helped me to control it. I feel like I have achieved communicating that through these illustrations.





Emma: Who are your favourite artists and why?


Rory: My favourite illustrators are Robert Ball, Olly Moss and Miraphora Mina simply for their artistic style. Lorna: My favourite artists are Sir John Tenniel and Chris Riddell. Alice in Wonderland has been my favourite book throughout my life, and Tenniel's illustrations were what first sparked my love of illustration, especially for children’s literature.


Emma: What advice and tips would you give fellow artists?


Stiwdio Rolo: Don’t be so hard on yourself!!!
We can put so much pressure on ourselves as artists. We feel like we’re never producing enough work, not producing work to a high enough standard, worried people don’t like our work, worried we don’t have enough presence on social media. It’s easier said than done, but once you take a step back and enjoy the process over worrying about the outcome, that’s when your best work is produced.

Also, always look for inspiration in whatever interested you if you’re having a hard time creating.


Emma: What are you working on right now? What is next for stiwdio Rolo?


Stiwdio Rolo: We have some new illustration ideas to work on, and we have some things in the archive we need to look through to see what else we can bring to Rolo. And we may be having a think of what we can bring for the festive season.


Emma: Where can people see your work?


Stiwdio Rolo: We have an esty page: www.etsy.co/uk/shop/StiwdioRolo and our work are also available on Instagram.


Emma: It has been a real pleasure talking to you both. Your tip for fellow artists above is something that I definitely needed. I wish you both all the success that you deserve in the art world and look forward to seeing what you create next.



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